MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Following widespread marches and demonstrations this weekend, a group of DFL state senators is pushing for sweeping reforms when it comes to gun control and school safety in Minnesota.
Unveiled on Monday, the comprehensive plan includes 14 pieces of legislation that address school safety and security, public health research and gun safety measures.
Many of the proposals have already been widely talked about at the Capitol this year, like raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic assault weapons to 21 and authorizing gun violence protective orders, which lets law enforcement or family members to get a petition if a person poses a significant danger to themselves or others by having a gun.
“This past weekend, we witnessed the largest mass protest against gun violence in our nation’s history,” DFL senators said in a joint statement. “Minnesotans are desperate to have a civil conversation about gun violence with their elected officials. The plan we are announcing today is intended to get us closer to having that conversation.”
Although the deadline has passed, Senate leaders are still able to allow for public hearings. That would require a vote by the rules committee.
Back in 2014, Minnesota’s medical marijuana legislation was passed after the Capitol deadline.
Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the Senate, so it will be up to them to decide whether or not these bills are discussed publicly, which the authors of the legislation say they have formally requested.
When Henry Sibley High School students were fresh off the bus from the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., they learned quickly from a top Republican leader the gun control bills they support won’t get a hearing.
“It’s crazy to think we went all the way to Washington, and came back trying to tell our emotions and to tell everything we learned from this trip, and he won’t even give us a hearing on it,” Henry Sibley senior Melissa Teal said.
Democrats say that, unlike the existing plan introduced to the Senate that focuses solely on school safety, their plan is the first comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to address gun violence in the Senate this year.
But the Republican Senate Majority leader says including gun restrictions would make it too divisive to pass.
“Both of those have passionate people on both sides that will stop it, which is part of the reason I don’t want to link it to safe and secure schools,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said.
Watch the video for the Monday morning press conference below.